The Spice Tailor by Anjum Anand
“Almost all Indian food is comfort food,” writes British author and celebrity chef Anjum Anand in her latest cookbook/travelogue I Love India. If you happen to be a fan of Indian cuisine you’ll no doubt agree the exotic aromas, complex flavours, and soothing textures of Indian dishes make them some of the most go-to of all go-to foods. However, eating Indian food and preparing Indian food occupy the opposite ends of the “easy” and “not-so-easy” spectrum.
It’s not so much that preparing Indian food requires Escoffier-level culinary chops (it typically doesn’t). It’s more that the ingredient lists for some dishes can be as long as your arm. And once you have scoured up all the myriad herbs, spices, legumes and vegetables, you better really like whatever Indian specialty you end up cooking, because you’ll have a boatload of ingredients that may not (but might) work their way into other types of cuisine. Luckily, Anand has made life considerably simpler for those craving the warmth of her native country’s delicacies but who may not have the time it takes to hunt down exotic flavour components and patiently meld them together.
Anand was in Toronto a little while ago (okay, a long while ago – sometimes it takes me a bit of time to get to things) to launch I Love India and prepare a few signature Indian samples. She also took the opportunity to introduce me to her own line of easy to prepare sauces and, in some cases, complete dishes called The Spice Tailor.
While I won’t go as far as to call them “instant Indian,” the creations that can be brought to your table via The Spice Tailor line of products certainly qualify as “10 minute Indian.” Each “kit” – be it Classic Butter Chicken, Fiery Goan Curry (possibly my favourite), or Punjabi Channa Masala – typically contains dried herbs and spices, and pouches of sauce (Anand opted for this type of packaging to avoid the inclusion of the preservatives often used in canned or jarred products). The spices are added to some heated oil. After about 20 seconds, add cubed chicken, beef, pork or whatever meat or poultry you choose to use. Let cook for about five minutes then add the second packet of sauce and simmer (if using seafood instead of meat or poultry, add it now).
The availability of The Spice Tailor offerings varies across Canada, but those who crave authentic, all-natural Indian dishes that can be whipped up quickly and easily should definitely track them down.